Not Much to Choose Between Player A and Player B

Owls began practice today for the big showdown 9/5/15.

Owls began practice today for the big showdown 9/5/15.

One of the tricks of the trade David Murphy uses to compare players the Philadelphia Phillies might be after is to compare statistics of two guys and then unmask them at the end.

It is a useful exercise not only for baseball but for college football. One of the remarkable things about the first week of play this fall is that there are two quarterbacks with almost identical stats and almost exactly the same freshmen and sophomore years who will be playing that week.

One is talked about as being a first-round NFL pick in the 2016 Draft; one is not even in the discussion. A close look at both players indicates that there is nothing to separate them.

Player A

  Games Comp. Atm. Pct. Yards TDs INTs Rating Year
2013 9 152 250 60.8 2,084 20 8 150.8 Fresh.
2014 12 203 381 53.3 2,317 13 15 107.8 Soph.

By now, you might have figured out one quarterback is Christian Hackenberg and the other is P.J. Walker, but, except for the number of games involved, it is hard to tell.

In many respects, Walker—Player A—was the more productive quarterback as a freshman than Hackenberg was. He had just as many touchdown passes in three less games and two less interceptions. Hackenberg had more yards, but that could easily be explained by his three extra games. Walker’s QB rating was considerably better, 150.8 to 134.8.

Player B

  Games Comp. Atm. Pct. Yards TDs INTs Rating Year
2013 12 231 392 58.9 2,955 20 10 134.8 Fresh.
2014 13 270 484 55.8 2,977 12 15 109.4 Soph.

The next year, was similar with Hackenberg getting only the slightest of nods, a QB rating of 109.4 to P.J.’s 107.8. Still, in one less game, P.J. had one more touchdown pass than Hackenberg.

Both will admit they had down seasons, but the numbers suggest that there is not much to choose.

To borrow a new NCAA basketball phrase, there is something called the eye test. Because of his ability to escape the rush, I think P.J. is the better college quarterback. Hackenberg is taller and might be the prototype quarterback, but I think P.J. will come out on top 9/5/15.


9 thoughts on “Not Much to Choose Between Player A and Player B

  1. Yea, I’ve been thinking the QB position will be basically a toss up. O-line play will determine who does better as well as DB play. Temple sure has the receivers to do well but will their DBs cover PSUs receivers? And if Temple can harass Hackenburg all day that will be huge.

    • No. 1 key to the game: Make life completely miserable for Hackenberg. Plenty of sacks. Plenty of hurries. Plenty of interceptions and fumble recoveries in their backfield. Anything else we do (3 td passes to Robby, for example) in this game is a bonus. Making Hackenberg miserable is a must.

  2. If the O-Line is average, as assumed, it will be incumbent upon the coaches that they employ an offense heavy on play action, to stem the rush, the use of screen plays, and short passes to the tight end. That way, the rush on pJ will be minimized. When a longer pass play is called for the offense must keep a back in to help with the blocking.

    • Yes. Amazing to me how many long pass plays we had that would have been there (P.J. to Herbin for 6 vs. Navy, for example) that were wide open and would have been touchdowns except for an empty backfield that invited the rush and made P.J. release the ball a tenth of a second too soon.

  3. I figured u guys would love the following quotes from Rhule & Sattefield

    The Temple of 2015 stands apart from its peers due to a turn-back-the-clock commitment to physical toughness; in the era of the spread and finesse, the team that embraces a two-back, multiple-tight-end offense is unique.

    “We’re going to line up in big sets and we’re going to rock you for four quarters,” offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said. “We call them body blows. If you can withstand it, great. But we’re going to try to get you to drop those hands, and when you drops those hands then we go for the kill.”

    Said Rhule, “How do we differentiate ourselves? How do we make ourselves hard to prepare for? Put two backs on the field. Put two tight ends on the field.

    “This is what your roots are. These kids have made themselves really tough. And that’s the only way we’ll ever win. By being a really, really tough football team.”

    • That’s exactly what numerous people on this web site said all of last year. That was mainly because the Owls didn’t have the receivers to run a quick out offense given that they weren’t big and couldn’t make the first defender miss. Ironically, this year they do with Anderson, Jennings, and DeLoatch, all of whom are big and fast. Nevertheless, I like the change because, hopefully, it will give PJ more time to pick out a receiver and won’t have him running for his life as much as he did last season.

      • I’ll believe it when I see it. One of the two backs better be a damn good blocker. It’s not going to help putting 2 guys back there if both are holding a big red cape before stepping aside allowing the Bulls (and the Lions) to get to P.J. Note he said essentially the same quotes after the ECU game and was struck with a severe case of amnesia the rest of the season. I don’t see a fullback-type on the roster.

      • OMG, what about using the talent you have to the best of their ability? The Temple O-Line is one of the least physical of all lines in the AAC, let alone the rest of college football!

        The PSU D-Line will destroy our O-Line if we try to go toe-to-toe for four quarters. Did anyone watch the Spring Game? Our O-Line is weak, under-sized, and does not have the skill and technique compared to the other lines in conference.

        This is the year for balance, and establishing the pass in order to run the football in the fourth quarter. Temple has fast and physical wide outs to run the short routes, and down the field big gains if the defense plays man to man coverage.

        Things would be dramatically different if we had the AG O-Lines and a BP in the backfield. This team does not, so why do something you don’t have the talent to execute? SMH

        If Temple lines up in a two back set and tries to stuff the ball down PSU’s throat i’m going to vomit and probably wind up leaving after the third quarter.., play the cards you’re dealt and use the talent you have.., i hope this was a Rhule and Satterfiled smoke screen to get into Franklin’s head

  4. I hate to admit it, but I must agree with KJ. Games against Penn State and ND especially, I do not believe a smash mouth attack is going to end in a victory for us. Not to take away from the offensive and defensive lines but to go toe to toe with those type of schools for 4 quarters seems like an uphill battle for us. Smash mouth could possibly work against teams in the AAC but for those games especially, and possibly Cincinnati, a balanced attack sounds like a better plan of action.

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